Joan Oates Institute for Partners in the Arts

2021 Dates: June 28–July 27

The Joan Oates Institute (JOI) for Partners in the Arts is offered annually to train preK-12 teachers of all subject areas to use differentiation, creative and experiential pedagogies, and collaboration to develop interdisciplinary lessons and unit plans.

The focus of training through the Joan Oates Institute is on how we teach, to provide educators with the knowledge and skills to integrate community and culture into their instructional practice through the arts and technology.

The driving question “how do we learn” informs the instructional practices we provide to connect curricular content to real-world experiences, and we’re continually exploring new ways to deliver these creative practices to educators.

During JOI, educational coaching and learning assessment programming is also offered to students seeking the Arts Integrated Learning Certificate who’ve already completed the Foundations of Arts Integration course. As a result, JOI offers a cross-section of less and more experiences integrated arts teachers, teaching artists, and educational coaches, ensuring deep, meaningful relationships and learning throughout the Institute.

JOI is offered once annually in the summer.

Foundations of Arts Integration

The primary component of JOI is the Foundations of Arts Integration course. In this course, educators discover a teaching and learning model designed to engage students in deep and culturally-responsive learning, both within and outside of school buildings.

Participants will investigate how to engage and empower students where and how they are by connecting student interests, passions, and cultures to community expertise and resources.  Participants will discover how to integrate community and culture to help students contextualize curricular content in what they are seeing, listening to and experiencing in the world.

Participants work through five modules (detailed below), engaging in multiple ways of learning and discovering how to align, communicate and assess their learning outcomes in authentic and innovative ways.

This course is designed for preK-12 educators or teams of teachers in all subjects, along with administrators, coaches, and performing, visual and literary teaching artists. Course goals include:

  • Engage and empower students
  • Explore big ideas through the lenses of multiple disciplines
  • Provide a range of media to assess content comprehension
  • Connect curricular content to real-world experience

Institute Details

Modules will be delivered through a mix of asynchronous tutorials and presentations with supporting synchronous sessions.

Asynchronous modules and activities will be available to registered students starting on Monday, June 28, and the schedule of morning synchronous sessions will be announced in the coming weeks.

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  • Format


    Participants will work through self-paced and interactive, hands-on online sessions to connect their learning to their current environment.

    Each module is built on our Online Experiential Workshop Framework for remote learning which is designed to ignite the learning process through curiosity and creativity in the world around us.

    The course as a whole, each module, and all activities are designed with four components to connect non-arts curricular content to experiential learning through research, close observation, and creating using arts processes and products.

    • Read and Watch
    • Observe and Capture
    • Create, Make, and Share
    • Reflect, Get Feedback, and Refine

    The course consists of a full month of asynchronous and synchronous contact hours with a variety of differentiated learning and discussion techniques being used to model reaching ALL students where and how they are. 

    Each module will guide participants through the process of:

    • Accessing the creative tools and skills we all have
    • Creatively framing your curricular content
    • Researching and collecting artifacts through observation using a variety of senses and art forms
    • Building learning communities built on trust that engage and empower students

    By the end of the week participants will embrace being outside of their comfort zones; using the arts and technology; and seeing, hearing and understanding the world through multiple lenses and perspectives.

    Professional Education Course

    Participants receive the same great workshops, instructional support, and interdisciplinary Learning Story map training and resources, but are required to only submit their ACME chart and Learning Story lesson plan as part of their Learning Story map, not a full unit plan as for graduate credit. All participants receive a 45-hour certificate of completion eligible for VDOE recertification points.


    • Complete all modules and activities
    • Communication with the instructors throughout the full length of the course
    • Complete and submit an ACME chart, Learning Story Lesson Plan and Learning Story Map

    Graduate Course

    Successful participation will earn three graduate credits, which is the equivalent of 90 VDOE recertification points.


    • Complete all modules and activities
    • Communication with the instructors throughout the full length of the course
    • Complete and submit an ACME chart, Learning Story Unit Plan, Learning Story Map
  • Objectives & Outcomes


    • To understand the basic pedagogical philosophy behind an interdisciplinary approach to teaching the curriculum
    • To gain an appreciation and understanding of experiential, constructivist, and inquiry-based education and how it influences the curriculum
    • To learn how to view and utilize the visual, performing, and literary arts in a way that instills confidence in application and assessment (Fear No Art!)


    Participants will create an educational plan to integrate the arts into their local school curriculum, learn about arts integration resources, and join a network of professional colleagues interested in integrating creativity and sparking curiosity in their classrooms. The innovative lessons and unit plans developed in this course can become the basis of a PIA ECT Award proposal, PBL or IB project.